top of page

Bocce is a game that is played all over the world with varying rules. The rules that we use during BocceFest have been customized to apply to players of all ages and allow us to maintain safe and timely game play. If you've played the game of bocce before please read over our house rules so you understand the changes that we've made. If there are any questions or concerns please feel free to contact Cory for clarification.

Game Objective:
The objective of the game is to toss the bocce ball closest to the pallino thereby scoring points. Each team is comprised of two team
members who each receive two tosses per frame, with a total of eight balls being tossed per frame. For each frame or turn, the team who ends up with their bocce ball closest to the pallino scores that frame. One point is scored for each bocce ball closer to the pallino than the opposing team’s closest bocce ball. During pooled play games the team to reach 11 points first wins the match. During tournament games the scoring is increased to 13 points for all games except the finals. The final games are played to 15 points.


Upon arrival at the event, please first report the Team Registration Center. This will be located in the front yard in front of the gate that
leads into the courts in the back yard. When you check in the following will happen:


  • Verification both team members are present.

  • Verification of team payment ($50/team) has been paid, if not this person will collect the entry fee.

  • You will be directed to the photo station where your team photograph will be taken and entered into our system on the roster board to help identify the teams.

  • A pool wristband will be assigned based upon your pool assignment to help identify the pool you belong too.

  • Any questions you may have should be asked and answered at this time.


  • Pallino Small white or yellow target ball which bocce balls are tossed toward to achieve points.

  • Bocce Ball The larger red and green balls which are rolled towards the Pallino.

  • Live Ball Any bocce ball in play or waiting to be tossed.

  • Dead Ball A ball which has been knocked out of the court, thrown illegally, or spocked. All dead balls are to be removed from the field immediately.

  • Legal Toss A ball that is tossed beyond the foul line, lands on the ground prior to the center court line and at no point in time becomes a dead ball.

  • Spock A hard toss from the foul line targeted at moving the pallino or bocce balls. The ball is dead after being tossed.

  • Bank Shot A ball which is played off either side board.

  • Foul Any shot in which the feet of the tosser cross the foul line.

  • Inside The team whose bocce ball is closest to the pallino.

  • Frame The period in the game in which balls are played from one side of the court to the other and points awarded.

  • Match Frames that are played continuously until one team reaches the number of points that are required to win.

  • Lag Settle ties/disputes. Each team rolls one Bocce ball as close to the center-line as possible, the closest team to the center is the winner.

  • Kiss When a bocce ball is touching the pallino. It is worth an extra point if it remains touching the pallino at the end of the frame.


Start of Match:
Each match begins by lagging. Each team rolls one bocce ball towards the center line, the team closest to the center line wins, regardless if balls cross the center-line. The winner of the lag may choose to either have the first toss of the pallino or their choice of the bocce ball color. The first frame is started by the toss of the pallino. When tossing the pallino there are three conditions that must be met:

  1. It passes the center line of the court

  2. It does not hit the back wall

  3. It does not go out of bounds

A player may toss the pallino however they like so long as those conditions are met. If a player fails to validly toss the pallino after three
attempts, the opposing team will have a chance to toss the pallino and put it in play. If the opposing team fails to put the pallino into play then the toss reverts to the original team. Regardless of who successfully puts the pallino into play, the first bocce ball will be tossed by the team who originally tossed the pallino.

Game Play:
The team, who originally tossed the pallino, whether successfully or not, tosses the first bocce ball of the frame. If the tossed bocce ball is legal, then the tossing team steps aside and his team does not toss again until the opposing team has either gotten one of its bocce balls closer to the pallino or has tossed all of their balls. If the tossing team does not play a legal ball (see dead balls below) then the tossing team must continue to attempt to toss until a legal ball is put into play or they have exhausted all of their balls. The team whose bocce balls are closest to the pallino are referred to as being "inside". Whenever a team gets inside they step aside and let the other team toss.

This team tosses until it beats (not ties) the inside teams bocce ball. This continues until both team’s have used all their bocce balls (a total of 8 balls, 4 from each team) at which point the score for that particular frame is tallied. Note: It’s possible a situation can arises where both teams are directly touching the pallino and neither team appears to be closer. In such a case, the team that was previously in inside prior to the tying roll remains inside.

Only one team scores per frame, the "inside" team. One point is given for each legal ball of the inside team that is closer to the pallino than any legal ball of the opposing team. One team will always be closer. In the event of an apparent tie, a third party will be asked to
determine who is closer.

During regular play, a match is won when a team scores 11 points. During the tournament, a score of 13 is required to win. During the finals, a score of 15 is required to win. All games must be won by two points. All players move to the opposite end of the court and the next frame begins with the team who won the last frame tossing the pallino to begin the next frame. Once a team has scored at least 11 points and has a lead of at least two points over their opponent they have won the match. Once a match has been won both teams should report to the tournament bracket board and announce the winner and loser as well as the final score.

Keeping Score:
Both pooled play and tournament play games are scored by one of the four players in the game. When the game begins one of the four players of the game is designated as the scorekeeper for that game. Scoring is done by accessing the BocceFest online web application at The scorekeeper selects the game being played from the list of games in the Upcoming Games section of the application and chooses Play! To start the game. The scorekeeper records the score for each frame until the game is complete. Once the game has been completed the score is automatically updated in the Tournament Management System.


Kissing the Pallino:
If a bocce ball is touching the pallino it is said to be kissing the pallino. If at the end of the frame a bocce ball is kissing the pallino it is worth an additional bonus point. Only one point can be achieved in this manner regardless of the number of bocce balls touching the pallino.


In the event that both teams have a bocce ball touching the pallino in the same frame, the team that arrived first is awarded the bonus
point. If a single roll causes balls from both teams to be touching the pallino when previously there had been none in contact, only the team rolling is to be awarded the extra point.

Dead Balls:
If at any time a ball is disqualified it becomes a dead ball it is immediately removed from play for the remainder of that frame. A ball is
considered to be dead when any of the following conditions are met:


  1. The tossed ball is the result of a fouled toss such as stepping over the foul line.

  2. The tossed ball hits the back wall of the court without first touching another ball.

  3. The tossed ball has gone out of the court.

  4. The tossed ball has come in contact with a person, object or thing which is out of the court.

  5. The tossed ball has not crossed the center court line. A tossed ball must be more than 50% across the center court line to not be considered a dead ball.

Back Wall:
Any tossed bocce ball hitting the back wall without hitting another ball is considered dead and must be removed from play.


To put the pallino into legal play it must be tossed in such a way that it does not hit the back wall, either side wall, or leave the court. Once the pallino has been legally been put into play, it remains in play even if it hits the backboard. However, if the pallino is knocked out of the court or it is knocked in the front of the center line, the frame will end, no points are awarded, and the game will resume from the opposite end of the court with the same team tossing the pallino.


Foul Line:
Player's movements are limited to the foul line. The foul line on our court is the white 4x4 at each end of the court. The player may step on, but cannot step over the foul line before releasing the pallino or bocce ball. When a player releases the pallino or bocce, both feet must be on the ground. In the event of a foul the ball that is the result of the foul is considered dead and removed from play. Any balls moved by a foul ball should be moved back to their approximate location before the foul.


Throw Types:
Tossing is how a live ball is put into play. There are two types of legal tosses and one illegal toss. All tosses have a corresponding foul line that cannot be crossed during the toss or a foul will occur. Players on the same team need not alternate tosses. Consecutive or alternating tosses by teammates shall be at the option of the players.

1. Tossing: Tossing is how the bocce ball is generally put into play. The bocce ball can either be rolled on the ground or tossed in the
air towards the pallino. The bocce ball must touch the ground before crossing the center court line and the tosser’s feet must stay
behind the foul line. Any ball that does not cross the center court line before touching the ground is considered to be a dead ball and
should be removed from play immediately.

2. Spocking: A toss which is targeted at the pallino or the other team’s bocce ball. A spocking toss must be thrown with sufficient
velocity that it would strike the back wall if it missed the target. A player intending to spock must announce that he is going to spock
before doing so. When spocking the tosser may step over the tossing line and up to but not over the spocking line. A ball that is
tossed beyond the tossing line and behind the spocking line does not count as a legal ball when trying to determine who is
inside. The sole purpose of spocking is to move either the pallino or a bocce ball. A dead ball cannot be spocked into legal play. A
spocked ball is not counted as a point when scoring is performed at the end of the frame.

3. Shooting (Volo): Shooting, or the Volo Shot, is lofting the ball in the air beyond the center of the court and is not allowed for safety
reasons. Any ball crossing the center court line before touching the ground is considered to be a dead ball and should be removed
from play immediately.

Distance Measurements:
A measuring tape will be available for use on each court to help you determine which bocce ball is closest to the pallino. All measurements should be made from the inside dimensions of the bocce ball to the inside dimension of the pallino.


Court Dimensions:
Each bocce ball court is 60’ long x 9’ feet wide. The tossing foul line is also the back board of the court. The spocking foul line is located 9’ from the end of the court. The center court line is located 30’ from the end of the court. There are ten courts which will be available for play.

BocceFest Game Structure:
There are two phases to the BocceFest games. The first phase of games are general pool play for all teams. The second phase is a single elimination tournament for the top ranked 28 teams.

Pooled Play Rules:
BocceFest is broken into multiple pools, each pool consisting of exactly four teams. Each pool will be assigned a number and color
to differentiate it from the other pools. Each of the four teams in a pool will play every other team in their pool once. Once all of
the pooled play games have completed, each team will have played a total of three games. All regular rules of play apply to the
pooled play. Final scores will be used to tally the total point differential (margin of victory) for each team which is used in the
tournament ranking.

Single Elimination Tournament Rules:
After pooled play completes, the top twenty-eight teams will advance to a single elimination tournament. Each team will be
assigned a ranking based upon their pooled play record and total point differential (see Pooled Play Ranking below for details).
The teams will be seeded into a 28 team single elimination bracket with the top 4 ranked teams receiving a first round bye. Once a
team loses in the single elimination bracket they are eliminated from the tournament. Winners continue to advance until there
are no more teams to play and thus win the tournament and are declared BocceFest Champions.



Pooled Play Seeding:
Teams will be initially be seeded in the pool played portion of the tournament based upon their accomplishments from previous
years. Newly created teams that do not have a previous record will be assigned a seed based upon the organizer’s expectation of the team. The team with the best record (the highest seed) will play the team with the worst record (the lowest seed). In order to utilize your lifetime team record, the team must contain both original members of the team. The team name may change, but the team members must remain the same or else the record will be reset to 0 wins and 0 losses.


Single Elimination Tournament Seeding:
After pooled play completes, teams are seeded for the tournament based upon their winning record. For teams that area tied the
first tie breaker is decided by the total margin of victory in points from pooled play. The team with the highest margin of victory
achieves the highest seeding in the tournament and each team with the next highest margin of victory receives each successive
seeding. In the event of a tie in total point differential the team with the higher pooled play initial rank will have the better seed.


Substitution and Forfeit:
A team must present both players during the course of each match. When your game is announced team members will have fifteen
minutes to report their assigned court. If for some reason one of the team members cannot play that match a substitution may be made with another player for that particular match. A team who cannot present both of the original team members for a second match must forfeit the tournament likewise at any point in time if both team members are not present after fifteen minutes of the game
announcement they automatically forfeit the match. The team may continue to play on the courts for fun, but only original teams may
proceed through the tournament brackets. 


During onsite check-in each team will be given two wristbands to help them identify which pool they belong in. The wristbands should be worn at all times except for when reserving a court (see Court Reservations below). Wristbands should be returned at the end of BocceFest for reuse the following year.

Court Reservations:
ONE person per team may remove their wristband to place “dibs” on a court. The wristband should be placed on the back wall of the court and should not be placed on a court that currently has a wristband. The claiming team is responsible for watching the game to ensure a new game starts once the current one ends. If a claimed court is not occupied by the teams designated for the next game promptly following the current game’s end then a BocceFest Official may be summoned to remove the claiming wristband and allow another team to claim the court.  Please coordinate with your next opponent on who will be reserving a court to limit the number of redundant reservations. Only one claim per pair of teams should be made. Please show consideration for other teams that have not had a chance to play as many games. Unless circumstances require you to play your games immediately we would like to avoid having the same teams alternate claims promptly after finishing games. Claims cannot be made while either team is in a game unless one team is required by BocceFest Officials to play their games concurrently to wrap up pooled play.

Exit Process for Early Departures:
If you need to leave prior to completing your games, please be sure to visit the Scorekeeper to notify them of your pending departure.


Scoring is done electronically through the website. One player from each team should access the under their account and score the game as it progresses. In the event that electronic scoring through your mobile device is not possible, scorecards will be located at the end of each court next to the scoreboard. Each game should have a scorecard filled out detailing the scoring that occurred on each frame. At the completion of the game, all scorecards are to be returned to the Scorekeeper immediately so that the scores can be updated.

1.2011.1 06/06/11 Cory Cubbage
● Clarified the definition of lag to include the ball landing on either side of the center line.
● Clarified the number of times a pallino is tossed at the start of a match
● Clarified the definition of a dead ball to state 50% crossing of the center line is required.
● Clarified tossing position for spocking to include up to spocking line.


1.2012.1 07/30/12 Cory Cubbage
● Added a snippet mentioning Badges and Bounties in their separate rule document.
● Added court reservations
● Added exit process for early departures
● Added scorecard references
● Changed scoring to 11, 13 and 15.
● Added note on two teams touching pallino.


1.2013.1 08/01/13 Cory Cubbage
● Added a few words to the back wall area for bocce balls.
● Changed to reflect 40 teams.
● Updated Single Elimination Tournament rules to reflect 28 teams with 4 byes.
● Added section for wristbands.
● Fix typo in start of match


1.2014.1 05/26/14 Cory Cubbage
● Removed maximum number of teams, to be determined later.


1.2015.1 08/05/15 Cory Cubbage
● Modified language of pools to allow for a variety of team sizes.
● Updated ranking language.
● Added “Kissing the Pallino” under scoring.
● Added “Kiss” to terms.
● Updated scoring to reflect online website method.


1.2016.1 07/31/15 Cory Cubbage
● Modified language of kissing the pallino.
● Renamed “Tournament Rules” section to “BocceFest Game Structure”.
● Changed advancing pools from 24 to 28.
● Removed wording around reporting games.
● Modified language around ranking and total point differential.
● Changed “Ranking” to “Seeding” and modified language accordingly.
● Added “Keeping Score” section.
● Noted that spocked balls do not count for points.
● Added “Arrival” section.


1.2016.2 07/31/15 Dan Grove
● Numerous grammatical changes throughout the document.


1.2016.3 08/01/15 Craig Cubbage
● Corrected formatting in definitions table.
● Removed incorrect information on ties from “Scoring” section.
● Clarified “Backwall” rules.
● Updated tiebreaker under “Single Elimination Tournament Seeding”.

bottom of page